Charleston Music Hall director Charles Carmody proposed an all-female performance to Charleston music mavens Lindsey Holler and Hazel Ketchum in 2015 called Women & Tom Waits. Since then, the series has continued with many different iterations.
“It’s one of our most successful local series at Charleston Music Hall,” said Carmody. “Patrons love these shows and keep coming back to them. We love that we get to engage with local female singers and musicians to create them.”
The Women & series has became a staple at the Music Hall since that first Tom Waits show. Other past renditions include Women & Neil Young, Women & David Bowie and Women & Led Zeppelin.
On Aug. 26, For Your Ears Only: Women & Bond will take over the Music Hall stage to spotlight a star-studded crew of local singers in addition to Holler: Zandrina Dunning, McKenzie Eddy, Jordan Igoe and Aisha Kenyetta.
“The series developed organically,” Holler told City Paper. “We’ve had 19 shows. It’s been such a lovely process and experience and such a community builder for like the musicians and the singers. And I hope that’s translated to the audience and the people who come out to support us.”
Although Holler now calls Columbia home and Ketchum moved to western North Carolina, the Women & series remains a Charleston-centric showcase.
“We started with Tom Waits and then we thought, ‘Who are other iconic male singers we can turn the tables on a little bit?’ Let’s have women interpret what these guys are doing really well,” Holler said.
“One of the early challenges was trying to figure [out] which singers we should choose,” she said. “We wanted a variety of styles and we also wanted the leeway within each singer’s catalog to do different types of interpretations. Some of the songs are straight arrangements from records and then we take some real wild swings. It offered creativity for a lot of the singers and the musicians involved.”
The Women & series gives a lot of latitude to the female singers within the scope of the song, Holler said, who’s been producing the series since its inception. Holler loves getting to know different artists’ catalogs intimately in order to figure out how it will translate with the house band for each show. For instance, Women & Radiohead in 2016 was presented with a string section as the focal point of the compositions.
Women & Bond will feature 17 original songs from various James Bond movies, arranged using a horn and string section in addition to a full backing band. Each musical number will be accompanied by video montages from the corresponding Bond movie.
“We’re covering the spectrum of eras,” Holler said. The concert will include the original music from Bond movies like From Russia with Love; Thunderball; Diamonds Are Forever; A View to Kill and GoldenEye.
While Women & Bond will be the only show in the series this year, keep an eye out for next year’s concerts.
For Your Ears Only: Women & Bond is at 8 p.m. Aug 26 at Charleston Music Hall. Tickets are $20 and available at charlestonmusichall.com.
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